Customize the LXDE Linux desktop

In today's open source roundup: How to customize the LXDE desktop in Linux. Plus: Calibre 2.46.0 released. And Google is working on split-screen multitasking for Android tablets


How to customize the LXDE desktop in Linux

LXDE is a powerful and lightweight desktop environment for Linux. Many Linux users prefer it to desktops that require more system resources. But can it be customized? Sure, and a writer at ZDNet shows you how to customize LXDE to meet your needs and preferences.

JA Watson reports for ZDNet:

So far in this series I have looked at customizing Xfce, KDE, Gnome 3, Cinnamon and MATE. That covers a lot of territory, and there has been some significant overlap in focus, features and capabilities between those desktops.

This time I'm going to look at LXDE, and I think the difference will be clear - LXDE is focused on being lightweight and low overhead but still easy to use and configure.

I'm going to use a Debian GNU/Linux Testing distribution (stretch/sid) for demonstration this time. I have been trying to confirm that this has the latest version, but LXDE is not released in completely packaged and consistently numbered sets, so I can't say that it is "version x.y". What I have been able to confirm is that it is running lxsession 0.5.1 and lxpanel 0.8.1, and according to the web site those are the latest versions.

LXDE isn't as big, or as bulky, or as filled-out as the other desktops, and that is one of its advantages. People who choose LXDE want basic functionality without a lot of overhead, so what I have tried to show here is how the basic system can be fine-tuned to make it a bit more comfortable.

More at ZDNet

Calibre 2.46.0 released

Calibre is a powerful ebook management application, and version 2.46.0 has just been released. Softpedia has details on what you'll find in Calibre 2.46.0.

Marius Nestor reports for Softpedia:

According to the attached release notes, Calibre 2.46.0 adds support for PDF bookmarks, which can be used as the metadata ToC (Table of Contents), implements a new tool that compresses images in books without loss of quality, and adds support for new firmware for Kobo e-book readers.

Additionally, there's now a new tool in the Edit Book component, which also compresses images in books without affecting their quality, hardlinks are now used for moving entire ebook libraries so that the entire operation can be faster, and it is now possible to enter fractional numbers into the Bulk metadata edit dialog.

Among the bugs fixed in this new release of Calibre, we can mention better support for moving ebook libraries while keeping a copy of the metadata_db_prefs_backup.json file in the directory of the original library, and the ability to warn users about broken trailing data entries in MOBI Input instead of aborting.

More at Softpedia

Google is working on split-screen multitasking for Android tablets

Android has proven amazingly popular among phone and tablet users. But it has suffered from the lack of split-screen multitasking offered by Apple's iOS 9 devices. Google is out to fix that and make multitasking a feature on Android tablets.

Sam Byford reports for The Verge:

The Pixel C is the first tablet ever designed by Google itself, and with its keyboard attachment could have demonstrated Android's potential as an operating system for productivity. Problem is, the software just isn't there yet, with a dearth of optimized apps and little consideration for multitasking. The team behind the tablet is aware of the concerns, though, and used a Reddit AMA to discuss how things may improve in the future.

"We're working hard on a range of enhancements for Android in this form factor," says Android and Chrome UX director Glen Murphy. "There are many things, like multi-window, that we've been spending a lot of time on — hopefully we can share more about this soon." It sounds like we'll have to wait til Android's next major "N" revision to see multitasking improvements, however. "We're working on lots of things right now for N that, of course, we wish we had, you know, yesterday," says consumer hardware director Andrew Bowers. "But we'd spoil the surprise of N if we shared all of them. Split screen is in the works!"

While there have been Windows tablets that let you put two apps on a screen at once ever since Microsoft released Windows 8 in 2012, and Apple added similar functionality to iPads running iOS 9 this year, Google is yet to provide native Android support for the feature. Some Android device manufacturers, like Samsung, have layered their own multitasking system on top of Google's OS, but app support has been lacking.

More at The Verge

Did you miss a roundup? Check the Eye On Open home page to get caught up with the latest news about open source and Linux.

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